Properties of 19 Khalistani fugitives likely to be confiscated, says NIA
This announcement has come a day after properties of a designated terrorist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a member of the banned pro-Khalistani group Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) were attached.
CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI: A day after confiscating two properties of Canada-based Gurpatwant Singh Pannu, controller of the banned Sikh For Justice (SFJ), the Centre is learnt to be exploring options to seize assets belonging to 19 other fugitive Khalistani terrorists under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The government could also revoke their Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards to prevent them from entering the country. Intelligence sources said the government might invoke Section 33(5) of the UAPA to confiscate their properties. It is part of the effort to stifle their finances and prevent the Khalistanis from using terror funds against India. If and when it happens, it could be India’s strongest-ever action against these fugitives.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday reportedly put out a list of 19 fugitive Khalistani extremists who are residents of the UK, the US, Canada, Dubai and Pakistan, among other countries, whose properties are likely to be confiscated.
They are Paramjit Singh Pamma, Kulwant Singh Muthra, Sukhpal Singh, Sarabjeet Singh Bennur, Kulwant Singh alias Kanta, Gurpreet Singh alias Baaghi and Dupinder Jeet (in UK), Wadhwa Singh Babbar alias Chacha, Ranjit Singh Neeta (in Pakistan), Jay Dhaliwal, Harpreet Singh alias Rana Singh, Harjap Singh alias Jappy Singh, Amardeep Singh Poorewal and S Himmat Singh (US), Jasmeet Singh Hakimzada (Dubai), Gurjant Singh Dhillon (Australia), Lakhbir Singh Rode (Europe) and Canada and Jatinder Singh Grewal (Canada).
Meanwhile, the Khalistan movement is outlawed in India and considered a grave national security threat by the government – a number of groups associated with the movement are listed as “terrorist organizations” under UAPA.
However, some Sikh extremists particularly in Canada, Britain and Australia have kept the movement alive by resorting to terrorising diplomats and vandalising temples.
Indian consulates in the United Kingdom and the United States have been vandalized by Khalistani supporters who tore down the Indian flag, replacing it with the Khalistan emblem.
SUNDAY MAGAZINE SPECIAL | Khalistan: The Canadian connection
Meanwhile, US Ambassador to Canada David Cohen said that intelligence on Khalistani leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s killing in June was shared among the Five Eyes partners – (US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada), based on which Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pointed an accusing finger at India.
"There was shared intelligence among Five Eyes partners that helped lead Canada to making the statements that the Prime Minister made,’’ said Cohen in a televised interview with CTV News.
While Cohen would not comment on whether the intelligence informing the Canadian government's investigation was both human and surveillance-based, or whether it included signals intelligence of Indian diplomats.
The US envoy also said that there was a lot of communication between Ottawa and Washington DC.
"Look, I will say this was a matter of shared intelligence information," he added. "There was a lot of communication between Canada and the United States about this, and I think that's as far as I'm comfortable going,’’ Cohen said.
Cohen also said that the US took these allegations very seriously.
"And, you know, if they prove to be true, it is a potentially very serious breach of the rules-based international order in which we like to function," he said.
Officials in Washington have said that Biden's concern over the allegations has been expressed to India, and the U.S. has asked India to cooperate in Canada's investigation, according to the ambassador.
"We think it's very important to get to the bottom of it," Cohen said.